Conference to help female veterans launch businesses coming to Plano

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by JASON WHEELER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwheelertv

WFAA

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM

DALLAS -- Female business leader hoping to better serve women who served their country

Years ago, Nell Merlino started the “Take Your Daughter to Work” movement.

Now, she’s focused on all those girls who grew up, served their country, and are now interested in business; female veterans like Angela Cody-Rouget.

“Her business is called 'Major Mom,'" Merlino explained. "She and her four kids moved 19 times in 19 years. She now has a business helping people move and organize their homes.”

Major Mom has become a hit. But the founder acknowledged in this promotional video she had to learn how to think like a businesswoman.

“Some of the how-to-do-it in the civilian world is not apparent, and that is what I am learning to do here," she said.

Merlino said many female vets need help transitioning out of a strictly-military mindset.

“It’s a hierarchical structure. You have to fit in," she said. "In the world of business, you have got to stand out. What I truly know about succeeding in business; it has to be new, it has to be different, and it has to be better. So conforming is not going to get you very far.”

With Capital One, Merlino’s Count Me In organization created the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps. At seminars, women pitch their business and get expert advice on how to make the enterprises or ideas better.

"I’m totally inspired. I took notes just listening to her speak,” Beverly Johnson said.

Johnson served in the Corps of Engineers before going into business. She plans to attend the upcoming forum in Plano so she can hear from experts and network with other women who share her background and her ambitions.

“We sit in rooms full of women and we never, as women, talk about 'Are you a veteran? Have you served in the military?'" she said. "That’s a conversation men have and it’s a place they often connect with each other, but as women we don’t have those discussions... but we should.”

They will. The Count Me In Women veteran Entrepreneur Corps meeting will take place at the Capital One Conference Center in Plano Monday, Nov. 18 and Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Registration is $75 and the conference is open to female veterans as well as spouses and daughters of military members. Click here for more information.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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